Chocolate & Valentines
Flava January 2012
Along with red roses, chocolate is one of the most quintessential gifts on Valentine’s Day, with millions spent on the sweet treat on Valentine’s Day alone. Nothing quite says I love you like a gourmet box of chocolates gifted to that special someone.
Our infatuation with chocolate can be traced back some 2,000 years ago when it was discovered in Latin America. The Maya and Aztec elites infused cocoa beans with water to form frothy chocolate drinks for special occasions and as sacrifices to the gods.
The Aztec ruler Montezuma believed that chocolate was an aphrodisiac, thus increasing chocolate’s popularity and its association with love and romance. As it turns out, he was ahead of his time. Modern-day scientists have linked the chemical phenylethylamine in chocolate to feelings of excitement, attraction and even pleasure.
The rest of Aztec society used cocoa beans as money and were unable to afford to drink it. Christopher Columbus saw how the Aztecs revered cocoa when he entered the picture in the 16th Century and immediately took the luxury product back to Queen Isabella of Spain.
Chocoholics sprouted up all over Europe, sharing the legend of their new obsession’s alleged mythical powers. At one point in time, chocolate was believed to be so potent that nuns were forbidden from eating it and French doctors even used it to treat “broken hearts.”
By the 1800s, the Cadbury Brothers set up shop in England and began packaging candies to sell to a mainstream audience. In 1861, in a genius marketing move, Richard Cadbury created the first ever heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day, spurring the commercialisation of the holiday. The rest, as they say, is history.
The History of Valentine’s Day
Valentine was a Roman priest put to death on 14 February, 273, for refusing to give up his Christian faith. The day coincided with the Roman spring festival, Lupercalia, held in honour of the gods Pan and Juno. Lupercalia was believed to be one of the most important festivals in the Roman calendar, and was brought to Britain by the Romans. The early Christian church frowned upon the festival but unable to prevent people from celebrating it, linked it with the name of St. Valentine, who became the Patron Saint of Lovers.
Local Chocolate Specialists
Camana Bay’s Cocoa Couture is heaven for chocoholics. This shop features a wide selection of gourmet delicacies for chocolate lovers, including boxed chocolates, fresh European truffles, bonbons, confiseries, toffees, fine teas and a selection of tempting gift baskets to suit all budgets. Choose from a wide selection of white, milk and dark chocolates, or simply plump for all three.
It’s scheduled to open just in time for Valentine’s Day.
This delectable shop sells a wide selection of chocolate delicacies, including truffles, chocolate covered patties, chocolate fudge and molded chocolate shapes, including shells, turtles and iguanas. As well as a selection of dark, milk and white chocolate treats, Cayman Taffy also stocks sugar-free chocolate for diabetics. All chocolates are individually handcrafted in house from Swiss or Belgium chocolate, ensuring the ultimate freshness.
Well known for its delicious deli style meats, breads and homemade pies, Icoa also stocks a wide selection of chocolates by Cacao Barry, a high-end French brand. Icoa chocolates are handcrafted using locally found ingredients, such as Cayman key lime, passion fruit, nutmeg and honey, and no additives or preservatives are used in the production process. For Valentine’s Day, enjoy a selection of traditional French Rochers, chocolate dipped strawberries, raspberry heart macaroons and Valentine cookies.